I’ve never been very good at journaling. I have to intentionally set time aside to sit down and write. So I approached the Reflective Writing activity this month with a bit of trepidation. What happened for me was pretty profound. I’m sharing it with you today not to preach or expect you to think like me, just to share how valuable and helpful writing or journaling can be for reflecting and healing. It brought real clarity and vision for how I can make a difference.
When I first started the journaling exercise, I felt unmoored by recent events (e.g. Coronavirus, George Floyd’s murder, protests). There was so much information is was overwhelming and I didn’t know what to think or what to believe. I needed an anchor. I was listening to podcasts, I was watching films and documentaries and I was reading articles and books to help me understand and comprehend the world. Up until the horrific murder of George Floyd, I didn’t understand the “black lives matter” signs. I identified with “all lives matter” because I felt like that was equality. Everyone’s life is important, right? Through my reading, listening and writing, it became clear to me why “black lives matter” is so important. Of course I was familiar with the term white privilege. But I really started to understand what that meant. I never had to drink from a separate water fountain because of the color of my skin. I never had to use a different bathroom because of the color of my skin. I never had to sit in the back of the bus because of the color of my skin. Growing up in a small town in Alaska, the only interaction I had with black people was singing in choir. And thank goodness for that! My first deep friendship with a person of color didn’t happen until I moved to New York City. Journaling helped bring these thoughts, memories and stories out of my head and onto paper. It helped me get centered and see how I could move forward.
As I was thinking about this blog, I asked myself, what impact would I like to have with readers? What would sharing my experience lead to for me? Being willing to listen, being open to a new perspective and seeking to understand are important to me. I want to present myself in a way that helps people heal and move forward. In your own reflecting, what have you found that helps you to heal and move forward?